I spent half a fortune on taxi rides this morning. To the Azerbaijani consulate to apply for a visa for Nakhchivan; to their bank to pay the visa fees, only to learn that the fee quoted applies to Iranians only; back to the consulate to learn that I need a Letter of Invitation (which Iranians don’t need) and that there is no way to get one in Iran from e.g. a travel agency. This is probably not true, but at that point I was too tired of their bureaucracy that I decided to ditch my visit to Nakhchivan. It’d also be a costly one, as the visa fee is EUR 60 – quite a lot for a few days’ visit to the tiny exclave.
In the afternoon I walked over to the bazaar. 7 square kilometers(!) of covered shops and stalls where you can buy virtually anything and everything. From fresh fruit to fridges, from carpets to jewellery. I even found a new battery for my bike computer.
I also got lured into buying a hand-made silk carpet for which Tabriz is famous for…
I was too tired and too hungry to do any further sightseeing today. The Blue Mosque, churches and museums will have to wait until another visit.
While it is still easily possible to buy food during the day, street-side fast-food and juice stalls don’t exist during Ramadan.
As friendly as Iranians may be, somehow I feel like I’m being ripped off every now and then when doing business with them, be it when shopping for groceries or at an Internet café. At least here in Tabriz. Unfortunately, almost nothing is price-tagged and some dealers take a conspiciously long time to add up the items and present the final amount.
Speaking of Internet, it is not easy to access the Internet in Iran. There are very few Internet cafés, open wifi spots don’t seem to exist either, except for up-market hotels. I became victim of the Iranian government’s Internet censorship when I tried to access a (travel) blog hosted on wordpress.com – it’s completely blocked.
I was prepared to stay a few days to wait for the Azerbaijani visa. However, I’m now changing plans again completely. I will skip the visit to Armenia, too. Instead I’m heading further to the southwest tomorrow, towards Lake Orumiyeh.